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WFT Daily: Wide Receiver Help On The Horizon

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Terry McLaurin, Isaiah Wright and Dontrelle Inman line up in formation during practice on Nov. 4, 2020. (Elijah Walter Griffin Sr./Washington Football Team)

The 2020 season is here, and we have you covered as the Washington Football Team progresses through its inaugural campaign under head coach Ron Rivera. Stay up to date with "WFT Daily," which comes out every weekday evening.

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Head coach Ron Rivera was joking when he referred to wide receivers Steven Sims Jr. and Isaiah Wright as veterans; Wright is a rookie, while Sims is just entering his second year. They have been with the team since training camp, though, and any amount of experience on the receiving corps is invaluable to the Washington Football Team.

"Now, having guys that have gone through camp that are back working," Rivera said following Wednesday's practice, "and hopefully they'll be ready to go on Sunday. It'll allow us to really open up what we want to do as far as an offense is concerned."

Rivera and the coaching staff do not want to look too far ahead, but Sims and Wright returning for Wednesday's practice is a positive sign for a team that is 29th in passing offense. Although they have 21 games of combined experience, their talents are expected to provide a boost for Washington's offense in the near future.

Sims has not seen action since Week 3 against the Cleveland Browns. Wednesday was his first practice since being placed on Injured Reserve on Oct. 9, and the team has 21 days to either return him to the 53-man roster or keep him on IR.

Sims only has six receptions on eight targets for 103 yards thus far, but he has zero drops with a 75% catch rate. He also averages 17.2 yards per reception, which leads the team, and 66% of his receiving yards have come after the catch.

Getting Sims back would also provide quarterback Kyle Allen with another reliable option, which has been an issue for Washington outside of Terry McLaurin. Since Sims' first missed game against the Baltimore Ravens, McLaurin has been targeted on 60% of passes to receivers. That's a steep increase compared to the first three games during which he was targeted on 43% of such passes.

McLaurin is Washington's best offensive weapon and its No. 1 receiver, so he should get more targets than his teammates. But having Sims in the lineup would force defenses to avert some of their attention elsewhere, and McLaurin believes Sims is well-suited for that role.

"I feel like he's probably made one of the biggest jumps," McLaurin said of Sims in a videoconference in June. "I'm really excited to see him flourish in an offense that can showcase his versatility inside or out."

Wright, who was ruled out of Washington's Week 7 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys, has stepped up in Sims' absence. In the last four games, Wright has the third-most snaps among receivers behind McLaurin and Dontrelle Inman. He only has 72 receiving yards on 13 catches, but he has also been used as a runner on jet sweeps with three carries for 16 yards.

"We're just starting to see that he's starting to understand, he's starting to get it," Rivera said of Wright during training camp. "There's a lot to learn in what we do, so he's learning that as well. As he starts to get more and more comfortable, he's playing faster and faster."

McLaurin said in September that Wright is a hard worker and hungry to improve. With that kind of determination, he believes Wright can make big strides.

"I think he can develop even quicker than he even anticipates."

Washington is entering a crucial portion of the season; its next four opponents are currently 8-22-1. Having Wright and Sims back in the rotation would help Washington as it prepares to make a playoff push.

QUICK HITS

-- Terry McLaurin named team captain: Prior to starting Wednesday's press conference, Rivera made an announcement: with safety Landon Collins being placed on Injured Reserve, the team unanimously decided to name McLaurin a team captain. Rivera said McLaurin is mature, leads by example and "just goes out and does his job." He's a quiet leader, but his performance on the field has spoken for him.

"I think that is one of the things that impresses his teammates, especially his veteran teammates that all felt unanimously about it. So, like I said, it's a heck of an honor and just glad to see that he gets the kind of recognition that he deserves."

-- Scott Turner has been impressed with Morgan Moses: Washington's offensive line has collectively been an issue for the team all season, but Morgan Moses has done his job, according to offensive coordinator Scott Turner. Moses has started in 88 games dating back to the 2014 season, making him the most experienced player on the offense line, and he has a Pro Football Focus grade of 78.4. Turner said he has been a steady presence for the offensive line through seven games.

"Morgan's been outstanding. He's been a leader for us as an offensive unit. He's played every game there. Really does a nice job both in the run and pass block. He's a tough guy. He can be vocal, and guys resonate toward him. He and Brandon [Scherff] together is a good combination."

-- Kyle Allen isn't concerned with being Washington's long-term answer at quarterback: Allen has been Washington's starting quarterback for about a month with varying degrees of success. He had one of his best performances against the Cowboys with 194 yards and a 111.1 passer rating. Rivera doesn't foresee any changes to the depth chart at quarterback moving forward, but Allen is not concerned about being the team's long-term answer at the position. He prefers to focus on one game at a time.

"I'm a very simplified person. I like to take it week-by-week and I like to control what I can control. That's my preparation and how I play on Sunday. This week is about the Giants. It's out of my control and I'm just going to do whatever I can to do and whatever it takes to win."

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